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Mastering Microsoft Teams Meetings – 2024 Comprehensive Guide

6 Min. Read

In today’s ever-evolving workspace, efficiency and productivity are not just about what you do, but also about the tools you use. As a powerful communication and collaboration tool, Microsoft Teams is rapidly becoming an essential part of many businesses around the globe. This intricately crafted and simplified tool allows easy synchronization of work through a consolidated platform. The capabilities range from simple chat functionality to full-scale meeting and conference capabilities.

This comprehensive guide aims to break down the various components of Microsoft Teams, helping you schedule and join meetings, and efficiently manage the multifaceted features, elevating your Teams experience to a new level.

Understanding Microsoft Teams Interface

As technology enthusiasts, adapting, exploring, and making the most of newer tech developments is our prowess. One such great innovation is Microsoft Teams. Providing a platform that facilitates team collaboration like never before, Microsoft Teams is a game-changer in remote and virtual working environments. But how familiar are you with its meeting interface layout? Let’s jump straight into detailing this intuitive interface.

Upon launching Microsoft Teams, you’ll encounter the main interface divided into three main sections – the Left-hand sidebar, the Central Column, and the Right-hand sidebar.

1. The Left-hand Sidebar

The left-hand sidebar represents the core navigation portion of Teams. Here, you’ll find various tabs such as ‘Activity,’ ‘Chat,’ ‘Teams,’ ‘Calendar,’ ‘Calls‘, and ‘Apps‘.

  • ‘Activity’: This tab keeps you updated on all your notifications and a couple of unread messages.
  • ‘Chat’: A critical section to conduct private or group discussions.
  • ‘Teams’: This allows you to view and engage with all your different teams and channels.
  • ‘Calendar’: Synced with your Outlook Calendar, it lets you schedule, manage, or join in Teams meetings.
  • ‘Calls’: Here, you can make or receive one-on-one or group calls.
  • ‘Apps’: Help users to bring together their workplace tools and services and collaborate with others.
Microsoft Teams Interface
Microsoft Teams Interface

2. Central Column

The Central Column is the main workspace that changes based on which of the sidebar tabs is selected. For example, if you click on a specific channel, the central space is used to display all the messages, threads, and attachments in that active area.

3. Right-hand Sidebar

The right-hand sidebar appears based on your activities in Teams. It becomes useful during meetings where it exhibits meeting notes, participant details, and whiteboards.

Microsoft Teams Whiteboard
Microsoft Teams Whiteboard

Related: How to Enable Dial Pad in Microsoft Teams?

Within a Meeting Interface

Once you enter a Microsoft Teams meeting, you’ll find additional controls at your disposal.

  • Top-corner Menu: This hosts options to enter full screen, focus mode, apply background filters, or access device settings.
  • Control Bar: The central bar features important buttons such as microphone, video, share screen, leave call, chat, participant list, and additional options (like raising hands, breaking out rooms, etc.).
  • Main Screen: This displays all participant videos or shared screens.
  • Side Panel: It’s made visible when you engage the chat or attendees list, leading to a sidebar on the right of the screen, relocating the main screen to the left.
Microsoft Teams meeting interface
Microsoft Teams meeting interface

Mastering the Microsoft Teams meeting interface layout essentially boils down to understanding these four areas. With this knowledge, navigating through Microsoft Teams becomes a walk in the park, letting you focus on what truly matters: efficient and productive collaboration. Enjoy discovering or redefining your Team’s experience!

Related: What can your employer see on Microsoft Teams?

Scheduling and Joining a Meeting

Moving from understanding the interface of Microsoft Teams to actual implementation, the quest for seamless online collaboration takes us to scheduling and joining meetings. Getting right to the point, we present the two-phase approach.

1. Scheduling a Meeting

For scheduling a meeting in Microsoft Teams, go straight to the Calendar icon in the left-hand sidebar. When you click on it, the central column shows your calendar, bound by your Microsoft 365 account. At the top right corner, spot two options: ‘New meeting’ and ‘Schedule meeting.’ Either leads to the scheduling interface, the ‘New meeting’ option fastens the process, auto-selecting the current date and time.

In the scheduling interface, specify the ‘Title’ for the meeting and invite participants by entering their names or email addresses in the ‘Add required attendees’ field. To add optional attendees, click ‘Add optional’ and input their details. The ‘Date and time’ fields let you adjust according to the planned schedule. Include a physical location in ‘Location’ or choose a channel to host it virtually. To make it recurrent, select ‘Does not repeat’ and opt for the repeated pattern (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or Custom recurrence).

Scheduling a meeting in Microsoft Teams
Scheduling a meeting in Microsoft Teams

Beneath these options, a large field ‘Add a description (optional)’ allows you to convey the meeting’s purpose, topics for discussion, or any necessary guidance. Once you’ve filled in all the details, click on the ‘Send’ option to complete the process. The meeting appears on your Calendar and invitees receive a notification email.

2. Joining a Meeting

Now, for joining a meeting in Microsoft Teams, there are multiple paths. The quickest can be clicking ‘Join’ on the meeting notification that pops up. Otherwise, open the Calendar in Teams, find the meeting, and click ‘Join.’ Additionally, if the meeting is being held in a channel, go to that channel and click ‘Join’ at the meeting post.

The pre-join screen gives you control over a few settings before actually joining. Toggle your camera and microphone on or off, adjust your background, and check if the right speakers/headphones are connected. When you’re all set, hit the ‘Join now’ button.

Once in the meeting, avail of the additional controls – turn on live captions, record the meeting, share content, or handle the participant list – engineered for effective communication and collaboration. Pro-tip: Utilize the right-hand sidebar for accessing meeting notes, participant details, and whiteboards to enhance productivity.

Joining a Meeting in Microsoft Teams
Joining a Meeting in Microsoft Teams

Following these steps will help you traverse the practical world of Microsoft Teams with confidence, making the best out of every virtual meeting. Remember, technology is here to simplify; harness it, and witness a dramatic upturn in the flow of your remote collaborations. We leave you at this, having translated the functionality navigation of Microsoft Teams into a walk in the park. Sail on, tech aficionados; there’s much more to explore, implement, and conquer!

Managing Meeting Features

Diving deeper into Microsoft Teams’ aptitude, and exploring its potential as a go-to hub for teamwork is imperative. Besides the basic orientation of the Teams interface, profiting from the key features needs savvy skills. Teams bring together everything your team of wizards will need—chats, meetings, calls, files, and tools—making collaboration both smooth and dynamic.

Starting with the wizardry of scheduling meetings in this digital realm, here we go. Open ‘Teams’, tap ‘Calendar’ in the left sidebar, then click ‘New Meeting’ to start. Fill in the necessary details— title, attendees, date, time, etc. You can either choose a physical location or a Teams channel for the meeting. For recurring meetings, just set a recurrence pattern under ‘Does not repeat.’ This feature is especially handy for weekly check-ins, or monthly updates, avoiding the tedium of planning from scratch each time.

To add details or an agenda, fill in the ‘Description’ slot; an excellent way to give attendees a heads up about the meeting. After inviting the participants, hit ‘Send.’ The invitation will land in their Teams Calendar and Outlook inbox. The Calendar is a powerhouse tool where one can view all scheduled engagements, making it a digital PA for your team.

The meeting options in Microsoft Teams are a group of settings that enable, limit, or turn off certain capabilities during a meeting. Organizers can change meeting options to affect how participants engage and interact during a meeting. The default meeting options are determined by an org’s IT admin, but organizers can change them for a specific meeting.

Meeting options in Microsoft Teams
Meeting options in Microsoft Teams

Next, let’s demystify the steps to join an online meeting. There are numerous ways to begin. When an invite arrives, one can join a meeting directly from a Teams channel, Calendar, or via the joining link in the invite. Before stepping into the virtual room, make use of the pre-meeting window to adjust your video and mic settings. Here, there are three options – turn off your video, customize your background, or blur the background. These corrections ensure you have full control over your privacy.

Audio, video, and customized background in Microsoft Teams
Audio, video, and customized background in Microsoft Teams

Related: The Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms.

Now, let’s dig into what goes on during the meeting. Teams offer an array of controls to manage the meeting better. The control bar hosts commands like audio, video, share, raise a hand, more options (…), and hang up. If any participant wishes to interject politely without interrupting the speaker, the ‘Raise Hand’ feature comes in handy. Meeting notes, participant details, and whiteboards offer interactive ways to better collaborate and facilitate discussions.

Raise Hand in Microsoft Teams
Raise Hand in Microsoft Teams

Finally, isn’t it refreshing to enhance remote collaborations with Microsoft Teams? The digital toolbox that Teams brings to the table is spectacularly cutting-edge, offering a cohesive work environment. This invaluable tool helps enterprises transition from traditional approaches to modern, preferable online collaboration. The new-age digital-native culture will indeed embrace Teams, taking their productivity up several notches. Indeed, the future of workplace collaboration is here, and it is spry!

Capitulate mundane assembly-related chores, focusing on what truly matters – a purposeful, engaging congregation. Don’t just adapt but conquer the art of hosting meetings on Teams. Thus, structurize lucid, productive, and prolific meetings. Microsoft Teams exists to make this path smoother, more uncomplicated, and yet, advanced. Join the wizarding world and explore the magic it beholds!

In Summary

This article delves into the process of scheduling and joining meetings in Microsoft Teams, offering a step-by-step approach for both tasks. Furthermore, it discusses the various features available during meetings, such as controlling audio and video settings, utilizing the raise hand feature, and accessing meeting notes and whiteboards. Ultimately, mastering Microsoft Teams empowers professionals to streamline their virtual collaborations and enhance productivity.

The ability to effectively utilize Microsoft Teams is an indispensable skill in the modern professional landscape. Armed with the understanding of the interface, the know-how of scheduling and participating in meetings, and insightful management of meeting features, the potential to transform your digital communications and collaborations is unlimited.

Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

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About the Author:
Charbel Nemnom
Charbel Nemnom is a Senior Cloud Architect with 21+ years of IT experience. As a Swiss Certified Information Security Manager (ISM), CCSP, CISM, Microsoft MVP, and MCT, he excels in optimizing mission-critical enterprise systems. His extensive practical knowledge spans complex system design, network architecture, business continuity, and cloud security, establishing him as an authoritative and trustworthy expert in the field. Charbel frequently writes about Cloud, Cybersecurity, and IT Certifications.

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